KGV Postal Stationery in "Postcard Format"
IntroductionThis exhibit covers the development and usage of Great Britain postal stationery cards stamped with a King George V head, both letterpress dies (that were supposed to be used for this purpose), and embossed dies (nevertheless used on occasion).
Its scope covers any items prepared in "postcard format" — i.e. a single card, or two joined cards in a reply card arrangement, that could be sent for less than the letter rate. Most of these were stamped for an actual postcard rate, although some of them qualified for an even lower rate as printed matter (although in common usage these would still be regarded as "postcards" based on their form).
Included are the standard issues sold to the public by the Post Office, private cards stamped to order (STO), and the few cards used by official bodies and the Forces that bore a stamp impression. Excluded are sealable lettercards sent at the letter rate, and cards with overprints added to convert them to non-GB stationery for use in other places.
The letterpress dies tracked those used for the adhesive stamps, with successive "Downey Head" and "Profile Head" designs. This latter continued in use into the reign of George VI. Uniquely in this reign, there is a clear distinction between the dies used for Post Office stationery and those for STO.
The exhibit includes unused, proof and archive material, along with a wide range of usages to show how the cards were used in practice. Used cards have often been chosen over unused for interest and to avoid repetition. It finishes with the only recorded example of a combination stamping of George V and George VI dies.
Post Office cards generally came in two sizes, the smaller "court shape" cards (~89x115mm) and a wider card (~89x140mm). Stamped to order cards varied considerably in dimensions but there were commonly used standard sizes, which have been given philatelic code letters as below:
a — 75x122mm
d — 89x115mm
f — 89x140mm
g — 105x150mm
Postcard format stationery was used for both the actual postcard (PC) and basic rate printed matter (PM) classes of mail, Rates in the period covered are summarised here, inland first, then foreign (F) and/or colonial (C):
|PC||PM||PC (F)||PC (C)||PM (F&C)|
|As of 1911||½d||½d||1d||1d||½d|
|3 Jun 1918||1d||½d||1½d||1½d||½d|
|13 Jun 1921||1½d||1d||1½d||1½d||½d|
|29 May 1922||1d||½d||1½d||1½d||½d|
|15 Jun 1935||1d||½d||1½d||1d||½d|
|1 May 1940||2d||1d||2d||2d||½d|
Note: this display was one of the King George V themed exhibits that were entered to support the Royal Philatelic Society's 150th anniversary celebrations at Spring Stampex 2019. It received a Gold Medal